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7 Tips for Automating Your Email Marketing

Email marketing is an area of marketing in which automation is completely essential. You simply can’t do email marketing effectively without some version of an autoresponder program, which automates subscriptions, list organization and message broadcasts. Here are 7 essential tips for automating your email marketing for the best results possible. Offer Something Valuable The freebie […]

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Customer Follow-up Automation Is the Key to Successful Customer Loyalty

It’s not enough to get your customer to buy. You need to keep them buying by building a long-term relationship with them. The key to successful customer loyalty and doing this effectively is to offer follow-up customer service. Through follow-up customer service you continue offering valuable content, keeping lines of communication open, communicating your appreciation […]

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Spirit plans passenger experience makeover. Can low price and great CX coexist?

Source: http://customerthink.com/spirit-plans-passenger-experience-makeover-can-low-price-and-great-cx-coexist/

Quite a few years ago (ok, more than 2 decades, ouch!) I worked at IBM, selling to a large enterprise. IBM’s strategy at the time was all about bundling a full set of service/support (including on-site Systems Engineers for large accounts) as part of the price of mainframes.

That strategy started to break down with the entry of mini-computers and then PCs, with new buyers exerting control from outside the so-called “glass house” where mainframes lived. The upshot was my customer finally saying “no thanks” to the bundling, and requesting a la carte pricing that separated products, services, and support. It was a painful transition for IBM, which had to figure out how to sell and deliver fee-based services on their merits.

The airline industry has been dealing with the same thing, although the dynamics are a bit different. With rare exceptions there is little differentiation between carriers, and lots of consumers that simply want to get from point A to point B as cheaply as possible. Sites like Expedia and many others encourage price shopping, which keeps pressure on airlines to display the lowest fare possible.

In Europe, Ryanair seized this opportunity to offer a low-low fare that included a seat, oxygen, and not much else. At one point, bombastic founder Michael O’Leary said he was considering charging a fee to pee!

Along with low fares came poor customer satisfaction ratings. But it didn’t seem to matter. Rynair kept growing and O’Leary told passengers who complained to “bugger off.” That started to change in 2014, when O’Leary had a change of heart and began investing more in customer service. By 2015, he credited a rise in profits to this more customer-friendly stance.

In the US market, Spirit Airlines has been following a similar path, but appears to want to avoid some of the Ryanair missteps. Or perhaps, work through them more rapidly. “Ultra low” fares attracted passengers, but, like Ryanair, were followed by ultra low customer satisfaction ratings. Spirit entered the ACSI rankings at a stunningly low 54 in 2015, and increased to a still airline industry-worst 62 in 2016.

In 2013, then-CEO Ben Baldanza said “customers care about price” and “We have great customer service because we give them the lowest price possible.” Like O’Leary (before he got CX religion), Baldanza pointed to growth and investor performance as validation.

The drumbeat of negative press and declining stock price led to Baldanza’s ouster in early 2016. New CEO Bob Fornaro says the airline will continue its low/unbundled fare strategy, while also “improving its passenger experience this year, in addition to making the carrier more reliable.”

Based on many industry surveys, clearly Spirit has some work to do on its operational performance, including improving on-time performance, baggage handling, and customer service. But there are also improvements in store for the booking process, according to Rana Ghosh, Sr. Director at Spirit Airlines, who heads up the “ancillary revenue” initiative. That includes all the products and services outside the core ticket, such as baggage, a bigger seat, snacks, or hotels and cars.

Ghosh says “passengers are looking for the best value possible” but not everyone wants the same things. In a recently announced partnership with personalization vendor Qubit, Spirit intends to improve how it segments customers and then target offers for the ancillary services most likely to meet their needs.

For example, a small business owner might be interested in a larger seat, checked baggage, hotel and rental car. By using Qubit’s automated segmentation tools, an analytics-based persona could be created, tested with a subset of the entire audience, then rolled out if successful.

Ideally the result will be a win/win: the passenger gets a personalized booking experience and Spirit gets the additional revenue it needs to make the unbundled strategy work. Passengers should start to see some of these improvements later this year.

Qubit was chosen, says Ghosh, because of its all-in-one platform and cultural fit. Both are relatively small but fast-growing firms that see themselves as industry disruptors. In my previous post, I wrote that Qubit is pushing into the MarTech personalization space with a Digital Experience Platform that includes “adaptive targeting.”

Conceptually, there’s a lot to like about Spirit’s plan. I don’t mind paying more for items that I really want, while getting a good value on the core product.

The challenge will be — as it usually is with good ideas — execution. The promised improvements in operations will take time to implement and, I dare say, will cost something. That “something” will eventually be reflected in even the base fares that Spirit offers.

The booking experience is critical because it sets expectations. I think Spirit’s current web site does a good job explaining what it is selling:

Our fares are fully unbundled. No “free” bag. No “free” drink. Other airlines bake those options right into their ticket price. We don’t. A ticket with us gets you and a personal item from A to B.

The planned Qubit-based personalization issue could improve the booking experience while helping passengers make informed choices… and setting expectations. That’s all to the good for those that book directly with Spirit.

However, according to a NY Times article, new CEO Fornaro wants to reduce surprises for first-time Spirit fliers. About one-third of customers book via third-party sites, which don’t do the same job setting expectations.

I gave this a quick test on Expedia, searching for a flight from Ft. Lauderdale to NY LaGuardia. Spirit’s posted fare was just $80 roundtrip, compared to a range of $132 to $149 for other major US carriers. Wow! All things being equal, if I didn’t want all the services bundled into the price, I might go with Spirit.

The problem is that the $80 fare increased by nearly $30 when I selected it. Expedia informed me: “Your ticket price changed from $80.00 to $109.98. The airline could not confirm the original price due to pricing or availability changes that occurred after we posted the latest prices on our site.”

The price change didn’t instill confidence in the low fares, and it raised some questions about exactly how I would pay for other services. There’s no obvious way on Expedia to select a bigger seat or pay for a checked bag, for example. That means more complexity, and perhaps some surprise charges, later on.

So Spirit not only has to upgrade its own booking experience, but also improve how it works with third-party sites. Still, I say this new strategy has some promise. As consumers we’ve all been trained by Amazon.com that low prices and good experiences can go together. Let’s see if Spirit can make it happen, too.

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6 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Strategy is Totally Failing [and how to fix that]

Source: http://www.v3b.com/2016/08/6-reasons-why-your-content-marketing-strategy-is-totally-failing-and-how-to-fix-that/

6 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Strategy is Totally FailingI get emails almost every week from bloggers and writers who are frustrated at how content marketing strategies don’t seem to work.

Some are even on the verge of giving up.

Their email would start with something like:

“I’ve been blogging for the past six months, and I’m not getting traffic, shares, and leads.’

or

“Is blogging still working because it’s not for me.”

I don’t blame them. In fact, it has a lot to do with human psychology. The more time we spend working on something without a reward, the harder it is to continue doing it.

After going through their blog with them, I find that many of them face similar issues with their content marketing strategies.

I’ll cover all of them in this post and share with you how to fix these problems if you come face-to-face with them. You’ll learn how you can improve your content marketing strategy.

1. No Value

This is one I come across too often and is probably the most common issue.

When writing blog posts, many bloggers make the mistake of not adding any value to their audience.

These small business owners often blogged about their products and how awesome their products are.

No, this is not how it works. Remember this: people won’t search for your company on Google. What they will do is search for solutions to problems or answers to questions.

Don’t believe me? Google says that these are some of the top 10 most popular ‘How to’ questions people in the US asked in 2015:

  • How to use the new Snapchat update?
  • How to solve a Rubix Cube
  • How to use beard balm?
  • How to tie a shirt?
  • How to lose 10 pounds in a week?

Here’s the harsh reality: People don’t care about your company or product unless you have an established brand like Forever 21 (most searched fashion brand in the US in 2015) or Chevrolet (most searched car brand in the US in 2015). They only care about what useful information you can give to them or how you can solve their problem.

People are more likely to find their way into your blog if it has posts that address their issues.

How to fix this: It’s simple, add value. What this means is you need to create content that helps people by solving their problems.

To do this, you can:

  1. Ask people to find out what frustrates them in their industry and listen to any previous customer feedback.
  2. Search Quora and see what are the most common and repeated questions.

 

real estate quora

 

iii. Stalk your competitors and find out what people are sharing on Twitter.

  1. Use Buzzsumo to see what are the popular and most shared articles in your industry.

buzzsumo

Knowing and sharing these demonstrate that YOU are the expert that people should be talking to when they want or need the services you provide because you’ve already shown a thorough understanding of how you can help them solve their problems.

To show you an example, take a look at Jon Loomer’s blog. He’s THE authority when it comes to Facebook ads. People use his blog post as a guide to create their ads.

For beginners who needs an in-depth tutorial, they can purchase his course to get started on their own.

2. Niche is not targeted enough

I get it. It’s a really tough world out there and we are all trying to make a niche for ourselves.

For marketers that niche is about social media marketing. Everything is about social media marketing nowadays.

Social media marketing is HUGE!

Writing solely about social media marketing will spread themselves too much. Instead, they should start by focusing on a more targeted niche. Using my earlier example, Jon Loomer focuses on a smaller but more targeted audience. His niche targets people and businesses who want to create Facebook ads while other marketers talk everything from Facebook tips to Twitter and Snapchat. You get my point.

jon loomer

The same applies for every niche. Take fashion for example. I started my second Instagram account and a new blog Shortofheight.com to talk about fashion. However, I knew I needed to really target my audience and in my case I chose to focus on giving style tips for short men. I don’t focus on the larger niche which is ‘fashion’ like most bloggers would do.

I know my audience well because I’m basically the case study, I am 5’4”

If you want to do something similar in your niche, you first have to make sure that.

  1. You’re passionate about that topic
  2. You have some experience in the industry or niche.

3. Blogging persona

Before you start writing, it is important to know who you are writing for.

I love this description about marketing persona from Ardath Albee:

‘A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.’

If you’re just getting started, You can write for yourself first. Figure out all the questions you have when you got started and how you’ve solved them.

However, once you start to get traffic, you should start with creating a user persona around the type of audience you wish to write for or attract more in the future.

How to fix this:

It’s important to know details such as:

  • Demographics
  • Ambitions
  • Are they male/female
  • A day in the life in their shoes
  • What are their problems and pain points?

Here’s a sample graphic I got from Buffer to get you started.

online persona

To read a more elaborated version and how to get started on building your reader persona for your blog, I recommend you read Buffer’s blog on this topic.

4. SEO

I’ll admit, I used to be the worst when it comes to SEO. I learned about the art and science when it comes to SEO when I started my second blog which was about styles for short men.

The “art” side of things is all about doing the research to see what your potential customers are looking for. The “science” is all about the numbers and finding out how many queries there are.

How to fix this: Before publishing a blog post, always do a quick search on Google to find what keywords are popular.

A trick I learned was to Google using the ‘allintitle’ strategy. When searching for a keyword via the “allintitle” command, you will be given the number of pages that have that exact keyword in their Title Tag.

Here’s a sample:

Sample 1:

sample 1

Sample 2:

sample 2

Sample 3:

sample 3

Sample 4:

sample 4

While I can’t advise you what keywords to pick, I would recommend you to choose the mid-range and not the highest because it’s less competitive and easier to rank.

5. Promotional strategy

Taking my first point into account, many bloggers unfortunately believe that if they create high-value content, people would automatically find them and share them. Then they will go viral.

High-value content, although extremely important, is not enough.

That’s not how things work. It never did work like that. Having a strategy to promote your content is as important as having great content.

There many different approaches to promote your content. Here are some of my favorite:

Influencer:  The Influencer approach is probably the easiest, but it will require more time and effort. What you can do is contact influencers and create a piece of content that involves them it in. I find that these type of content gets the most traffic, link backs, shares and leads to get you started.

Guest-blogging: Guest blogging approach is another great strategy. What it does is help build authority and link backs. Being on other people’s blog raises awareness for your personal brand and the link backs you get help build your SEO. Both are a great promotional strategies in the long run.

6. Personality

Does your blog have a personality?

I learned that the hard way. I started my first blog in 2010. I enjoyed writing so much, and I showed  personality on every single post.

I was then told that I shouldn’t be me. Instead, I should be professional and use big words.

Bad mistake!

Blogging, by its very nature, is the art of connecting with your audience. It’s like conversing in real life. I learn that I don’t have to sound like a robot to get more views. For my audience, being professional and restricted had the complete opposite. I had fewer shares and the blog dropped in traffic.

How to fix it: Your blog content needs to have YOUR voice in it. That’s the secret to connecting with your audience on a whole new level. Personal words like you, I, me, etc. are all crucial to building that one-to-one relationship with your audience.

You also need to imagine speaking to another person. A fun exercise I like to do is imagine talking to my blog persona at a coffee shop. I’ll have a conversation with that person for the first time and think of all the different questions he might have for me.

When I realize that my personality is important, I found that I enjoyed writing even more. My readers did as well. Till today, I get emails from people telling me how refreshing my writing is and how sassy I am. That’s how I roll baby.

Share your story and write the way you talk. Don’t be afraid to use vulgarity if that’s how you’ll speak to your blog persona in real life as well.

Summing up:

While my advice can help some of the mistakes that you are probably making, I want to leave with one of the most important lessons I learned while blogging.

Blogging takes time and patience. It’s like working out. You won’t see results immediately. You’ll feel dogged at times. It requires a lot of time, patience and dedication. Keep going and you’ll see the results.

Photo Credit: businessoutsourcingsolution via Compfight cc

The post 6 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Strategy is Totally Failing [and how to fix that] appeared first on V3B: Marketing and Social Media Agency.

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